The news stream of the country just shifted dramatically. I was up late last night, putting on hold an article deadline, unable to take my eyes off CNN–and remembering what it was like to be in D.C. on 9/11, huddled in a hotel watching the news, and then for more than a month afterwards, as we were all additionally terrorized by the anthrax mailings.
Blogging itself was largely born in the wake of 9/11–the fear and the insatiable demand for news and information, combined with the Internet, set the stage. I started blogging shortly afterwards when I and others created Tapped, the blog of the American Prospect magazine.
People will rightly point out that the tech blogosphere was robust well before 9/11. But I think it is valid to assert that the non-tech blogosphere’s coming of age was really 9/11. Many of the prominent bloggers today (Matt Yglesias and Megan McArdle for example) come out of the “warblogger” milieu of that period (whether pro or anti “warblogger”). Myself, I began blogging a few weeks before Chris at Tapped on a pre-GNXP weblog I had for all of two months, from April to May of 2002. At that point my concerns were Java Server Pages, the War on Terror, and genetic engineering (in particular the anti-genetic engineering arguments of Francis Fukuyama and Bill McKibben). 9/11 had perturbed me from my general isolationist orientation, but over the years I’ve shifted back to my old equilibrium.
Below is a Google Trends result restricted to the USA for the terms blog, magazine, and newspaper.